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Autonomous cars – the future is coming

Category Archives: News

8 months ago News , News

Autonomous cars – the future is coming

As society changes the car industry follows suit and, where possible, offers something to the world that turns how we interact with not only our daily driver, but the idea of travel, entirely on its head.

Now we love a combustion engine and being connected to the drive, that is why we have some of the best driving cars on the planet in our fleet but there is no doubt the world of car travel is changing and it is important to keep up with what is happening.

That is what Volvo are striving to do with their latest announcement. The manufacturer that gifted the seatbelt to the world, are synonymous with safety and can boast that not one fatality has ever been recorded in their SUV (the XC90) in 16 years are once again shaking up the industry.

The 360c is Volvos vision of what autonomous travel could and should look like. With absolutely no driver the 360c challenges the current concept of travel, city planning, infrastructure and how human beings impact the environment around us.

As a completely driverless vehicle, Volvo say the 360c can offer a range of services and uses to people who choose to travel within it’s beautifully crafted body. By removing the traditional combustion engine, rows of seats and the steering wheel, it allows the space to be used in a plethora of ways previously unimaginable. Essentially Volvo have delivered the possibility of having a travelling office, entertainment space and even sleeping area all on four wheels. Passengers can get on with whatever they like in comfort and safety while the car drifts along taking care of getting you from A to B.

Volvo wouldn’t be Volvo without chucking in a huge amount of safety and they say that the 360c will set the standard on how the future world of autonomous vehicles will safely communicate with each other and whatever else is sharing the road.

It all sounds very interesting and opens the doors to changing how we interpret travel, with short haul flights firmly in the sights of Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars “The business will change in the coming years, and Volvo should lead that change of our industry. Autonomous drive will allow us to take the next big step in safety, but also open up exciting new business models and allow consumers to spend time in the car doing what they want to do.”

With 740 million people in the US alone making short haul flights, Volvo think these travellers are a prime segment of the market who would benefit from the kind of service the 360c offers and they may well be on to something.

It was only a matter of time before Volvo entered the world of autonomous travel and time will tell just how much of an impact the 360c conversation will have on the industry as a whole but it is a very strong start.

What would you rather? Travel to the airport and go through the process of jumping on a plane to travel 3-400km or jump into the Volvo and zip there on a cloud of Swedish safety and comfort?

Of course…you could just stick to being in control and choose a good old Porsche 911…what do you think?

8 months ago News

Lancia Delta Integrale: An Italian Unicorn

Every now and again, something truly special comes along like cheerios, Duran Duran and the electric toothbrush.…

In the car world, The Lancia Delta Integrale was one such thing. A hatch back of such presence, poise and performance that we all felt it was going to usher in a period of continued success for the Italian brand.

Maybe time has tinted our glasses rose coloured when we think about this hot hatch from Turin but has there really been a more iconic hot hatch?

Sure the Golf GTI, Peugeot 205 GTI and Nova GSI all pushed the envelope but if you see one in the wild do you stop, drink up the majesty and enjoy the fact you have just seen something special?

No. No you don’t. I’ve never met anyone that salivates over an F reg Golf GTI in the same way the Integrale gets the blood pumping.

The Lancia Delta began life the 1970s as a fairly normal, run of the mill hatchback that did little to thrill. Then in the 80s, Lancia decided they wanted to enter the little dynamo into the WRC and they started to tinker. They popped a torque splitting four wheel drive system in there, made some other tweaks and set it loose onto the racing circuit.

Interestingly the car shouldn’t have been successful. The arches were far to small meaning the brakes and wheels were far too tiny but thanks to the some luck and the main rivals being woefully unprepared the little beast won the constructors championship between 1987 and 1992….that’s six in a row. As well as four drivers championships in that time, two apiece for Juha Kankkunen (1987 and 1991) and Miki Biasion (1988 and 1989).

Those performances made the Delta Integrale the most successful marque in the history of the WRC, as well as making the Delta the most successful car to that point.

Explaining the racing pedigree of this rocket can be saved for another day but to qualify in the Group A category in the late 80s, 5000 cars had to be produced for sale and this means that one of the best rally cars of the age hit the roads.

For this we are truly thankful.

The squat stance and ability to get the power down in the real world gave this car the most amazing handling and sheer smile per mile metrics that have ever been seen.

Alas, the success did not continue for Lancia and the brand as well a the model fizzled out into the wilderness were they produced some of the dullest cars known to human kind.

A truly sorry tale for the manufacturer that brought us the not only one of the best hot hatches of all time but also the legendary Stratos…..that, however, is a story for another day…

So, if you ever see one of these Italian unicorns in the wild, be sure to enjoy it as it passes.

9 months ago News

Audi Quattro: The birth of a brand

When you mention Audi nowadays – you think of chic executive saloons, the madness of the RS range and sales managers stopping at service stations on the M4.

If you look past the stereotypes however, there is no denying that Audi have forged a fearsome reputation for creating cars, that when well driven, are hard to beat. And what term is synonymous with the four rings?

Quattro

Before the 1980s, Audi had been bought, sold and merged numerous times from the 30s until the late 60s. This left the manufacturer with precious little time to pin down an identity. That all changed in 1969 when the dust began to settle and the beginnings of Vorsprung durch Technik was born.

Under the ownership of the Volkeswagen group, Audi started to produce models such as the 100, 80 and the 50. These held particular significance as they underpinned future VW models, the Passat and the Polo/Golf….significant cars that helped position VW as a world beater in multiple sectors.

The Audi 50 that morphed into the iconic Polo and Golf

Audi were on the way and then, in 1977, work began on the car that changed everything for them – the quattro.

In an effort to shake the conservative image that was stuck to Audi like a modern RS6 is glued to a corner, they came up with the idea of building a four wheel drive coupe to take part in the revitalised world rally series.

And take part they did.

The Quattro dominated.

It was one of the first rally cars to take advantage of the recent rule change that allowed four wheel drive technology. Audi captured the manufacturers title in 1982 and ’84 announcing in the process that four wheel drive was here to stay.

Throughout the 80s Audi smashed records. The car evolved into the Quattro S1 and then simply into the S1, the model that gave its name to the range of Audi ’S’ cars that still exist today.

By the time the 90s came around, Audi were pumping out exciting, well made models across the range that rivalled the M cars coming out of Munich and the AMG monster that Mercedes had started to perfect. The conservative tag was well and truly gone

If it hadn’t been for Jorg Bensinger, the chassis designer who suggested the quattro, history may have been very different.

Audi S1 anyone?

Imagine a world where you couldn’t transport the kids, a week worth of shopping and three potted plants back and forth at light speed in your RS4….that is a world I don’t even want to consider…

The RS4, formerly part of the fleet but what Audi will replace it?

2 years ago News

Drive of a lifetime

Last night I was lucky enough to be taken for a drive in what I can only describe as my dream car. I didn’t know it at the time but have always had a thing for the late air cooled 911’s even though this was a love affair from afar.

The 964 was always the car for me ever since a friend turned up at Warsash in one years ago when we were studying for our Class IV. His was a guards red Carrera 4, not my colour or choice of drive train but still SO cool. It was a 1990 G Reg car (in 2001) and he had paid £15,000 for it. Ever since then I have loved those cars but have never done anything about it.

Time passed and prices started to climb and now they are virtually out of reach.

As you know we have a 1985 3.2 Targa which is an equally hypnotising car and one which, until I drove it had no real interest in. That all changed within 30 seconds of getting behind the wheel and I fell in love. We bought well and that car is now in close to perfect condition and is extremely popular with our members. But, I still have a thing for the later models. The Targa is awesome but not a car you can really throw around the place. You’ll see when you drive it. It can be driven quickly and loves it but you have to be good to drive above 7/10 in a car like that. So, what to do? Does the club need another 911 when we already have 2? Probably not, and there is a danger of us becoming a Porsche club, but is that a bad thing?

To be honest, I’ve almost given up on the idea of ever personally owning a 964 due to prices and rarity these days. Even for the club it is a lot of money even if it is a guaranteed earner. So, step forward last night’s dream drive. A 993 Carrera 2.

The owner turned up last night and “made me” drive it hard! Oh my God I have never experienced such a pure drive, such a great gearbox, perfectly matched power to chassis capability, response, handling and sound.

People have always told me the 993 is the way forward but I preferred the 964 looks as it is a slightly cleaner shape. However, I can confidently say that the 993 is the perfect combination of old school air cooled 911, modern gearbox and superior handling which, when combined last night gave me what I can only describe as the perfect 20 minute drive.

I honestly hardly slept last night!

Don’t hate me if a 993 Carrera suddenly turns up on the fleet guys as I would love you all to experience what I am getting at here. It is simply driving perfection…..

In other news we are still buying cars. Let us know what you would like to see next. We have something big and British coming soon to to break the German car monopoly.

Our new website is now live which you will have noticed if you are reading this. You can now join us, buy points, book cars and read the news on the site.

The Facebook page is as busy as ever and so please follow us and share with your yacht crew friends. The more people who join the better the choice of cars you have to drive.

Finally our Founding memberships have almost gone. Lots of you have been in touch about joining and this membership is frankly pretty tough to beat. A one off payment of £3500 gives you free car use for upto 4 weeks per year. How can you beat that? Only 25 places left so contact us here if you are keen to join.

Corniche

Bentley Continental GT

2 years ago Announcements , News

Big Saloons. We love them!

Big performance cars. Are they the way forward?

I’ve always been a fan of big powerful cars for one main reason, the element of surprise! There are a lot of reasons people buy these cars such as small mans syndrome, pose value, materialistic tendencies etc but I just love the fact that you can have a car that is big, comfortable and relaxing on a long journey but is also able to get a move on when necessary and still put a smile on your face. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.

Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9

Released in 1975 the SEL 6.9 was the flagship Mercedes built by Daimler Benz in Stuttgart and produced 268hp and 405lb ft of torque. Not only was the car built like a tank but, for the time was incredibly powerful and comfortable. By todays standards it is no longer super quick but is still counted as one of the best built cars ever with options such as ABS, hydro-pneumatic suspension, dry sump and hydraulic valve lifters meaning very low maintenance.

An absolute monster of a car and also very rare, which is why I need one in my life. The ultimate sleeper?

Mercedes W210 E55 AMG

A car I wish I had never sold. Nowhere near as big as the 450 SEL but, for that exact reason this car actually handles and stops very well. The 5439cc V8 produced 354hp and 390lb ft of torque which gave a car that looked very similar to a standard E Class a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds. Not bad for a big saloon. Only 458 were sold in the UK and I’ve got my eye on one down the road. The sad thing is, it is the same colour, spec and age as the one I sold in 2010! The perfect Q car.

Bentley Arnage Red Label

At 5.4 metres long you will not be cramped in the back or the front of this car as its main purpose in life is to be comfortable. However, with a 6.75 litre V8, a single T4 Garrett turbo, 400hp and 616 lb ft of torque this car was one of the most torquey cars on the road. More than capable of taking you from London to Scotland in total comfort without stopping (except for fuel of course) and surprising you with its handling when you leave the motorway it surely must be a car worth having on the list for pure road presence.

Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

Sounds cheesy I know but there is something about a huge two door convertible that makes me smile. A very similar engine to the Bentley but without the turbo this car is the epitome of wafting along. Yes it may seem ostentatious but at this age I doubt you will get anything other than smiles from people you pass, compared with the abuse you would suffer in a Continental GTC for example. Maybe not a great everyday car but, for a special occasion how can you go wrong?

Audi S8 V10

This is a car which is constantly arguing with itself. Is it a luxury cruiser or a sports car? The Lamborghini derived 5.2 litre V10 says supercar, so does the suspension and gearbox. However, calm things down a bit and you have a very refined cabin, comfortable seats and great long distance performance. With 450hp, 398 lb ft and a 0-60 of 5.1 seconds it is always going to be the howling V10 that dominates the experience.

2 years ago Announcements , News

Simon’s Top 5

Today’s Top 5 comes from Simon, one of our founding members.

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Autobahn Killer:

Audi RS6

The RS6 is a very popular car amongst our members and followers. This has got me thinking, should we get one?

Day out with the wife:

Bentley Continental Supersport

Big, comfortable, luxurious but also surprisingly capable and stands out anywhere. The perfect all-rounder?

Day out with the boys:

Ferrari 458 Italia

Whether it is an A road morning blast with your friends or a weekend track day the 458 excels but is also refined enough to drive calmly.

Day on the track:

Ariel Atom

The ultimate single purpose track car? Yes, you can drive it on the road but it thrives on track.

Rally special stages:

Mitsubishi EVO IX GT

The last “proper EVO” in the eyes of the purists and a truly hardcore rally car for the road.

2 years ago Announcements , News

Tim’s Top 5

Today’s Top 5 is from Founding member Tim

Track car:

Caterham R300 Superlight

Light weight, over 300hp per tonne and no windscreen. Make sure you are on the ball driving this monster.

Sunday morning blast:

911 997 GT3 Gen 2

The final incarnation of the Mezger engine, manual GT3. The ultimate sports car?

The Swiss army knife:

Mercedes G63 AMG

I know you’ve heard it all before. In truth this is a terrible car but two things appeal. looks and noise.

Every day practical car:

Audi RS6

This is proving to be a common car amongst us. Space, comfort, handling, performance.

The Classic:

Porsche 964 RS

A modern classic in the true sense of the word. A real analogue car and now unfortunately horrifically expensive.

Don’t forget, we will publish your top 5 too. There are no rules and no right or wrong answers so please send yours to us at info@modernclassics.cc and we will show the world.

2 years ago Announcements , News

Today’s Top 5

Today’s top 5 comes from founding member Robert W. A very diverse collection and some tough decisions to make.

The ultimate car:

McLaren F1:

As the Pagani Zonda F has already been chosen I have gone for one of the worlds greatest supercars. A masterpiece of pure automotive engineering. Practical and stealthy too for a supercar.

Daily Driver:

Range Rover Evoque.

Not too big, not too small and I love its Tonka Toy looks and go anywhere, do anything attitude.

Classic:

Ferrari 250 California or 1966 AC Cobra 427

I really can’t decide between these two. Both are ridiculously rare and beautiful cars. True icons.

Family Adventures:

VW T5 4motion Camper

A very different kind of motoring experience (my own car) and more about the journey and the destination than the drive itself but genuinely more rewarding than any other vehicle on the list.

Fun Time:

Lotus Exige 380 Sport

incredibly quick and nimble enough to be properly thrashed around a track or down a B road whilst not being so precious that you are frightened to actually jump in it and go.

Tell us your dreams:

If you have a dream garage or top 5 please feel free to send them through and we will publish them. info@modernclassics.cc

2 years ago News

The Perfect 5 Car Garage

Today’s input is from one of our founding members and what their perfect 5 car garage is.

We won’t mention any names but remember, this is all personal opinion and is what helps us to understand your likes and dislikes. If you have an opinion, as we know you all do feel free to send us your 5 car garage and we will publish this too.

The daily driver

Porsche Panamera Turbo: 2010 model, £45000

We all agree this is not the most beautiful or understated car in the world but offers superb real world performance, decent handling, space and comfort. It is also safe and reliable which is ideal if you have family with you. Yes it’s a big car and probably not the most economical in the world but driven gently will do high 20’s (mpg) on the motorway and is a rocket ship the rest of the time. What better place to sit for long journeys up and down the motorway. Also, these have done most of their depreciation and so as a 3 or 4 year proposition this is a great option.

The family, do anything type car.

Mercedes G63. It stands out. 2013: £85,000

There isn’t much I can say to justify this car as it doesn’t make sense to most people. However, those who know this car will understand why I want one. There are many pros and cons to ownership; It has Unrivalled build quality, Comfort, Road Presence, Sound, Silly performance, and Good residuals. But on the negative side are Cost, Fuel, Handling, Attention grabbing “gangster” styling

I would probably hate owning this car for 75% of the time but the other 25% would be so good It must be worth a try.

The “day out with your wife” car

Mercedes SL63 AMG: 2013 – £48,000

When you just want to get away with your other half. The sun is shining, you have nowhere in particular to go and want the wind in your hair but, most importantly your wife needs to be comfortable, warm, and feel safe whilst you have fun driving, all at the same time.

Also add to the fact that it is a serene cruiser with the roof up, has a metal roof, all the tech you will ever need and a monster of an engine and you realise this is Mercedes’ flagship for a reason. They sound great and the performance is stunning even if it is not the last word in handling. Remember this is a GT after all. Almost the perfect car?

The “show off” car or Supercar

Pagani Zonda F Roadster: £1 million

I’m not a huge fan of supercars as I don’t like drawing that much attention to myself (he says after realising what the other cars on the list are) but, if you have to have a supercar you might as well be different from everyone else. I have always loved the Pagani approach to build a car all the way from the wild design to the unbelievable attention to detail and technical/ mechanical expertise that go into each car. I also appreciate this in Koenigsegg too but Pagani have something special which makes them a more complete package.

Whether you are on a road trip through the Alps or causing through London this car will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up every time. It looks wild, is a stunning design, has a true legend of an engine, and performs like you would expect.

It’s just a shame I haven’t won the lottery this week…..Yet.

The Sunday morning, “just going for a drive” car

Porsche 964 RS: Price, not even worth mentioning as I will never own one.

This car is the ultimate expression of a true driver’s car. It is uncomfortable, noisy, low, and hot. Definitely the sort of car you don’t want to spend that much time in and, to most sounds like your worst automotive nightmare. Until you drive it.

This car is physical to drive and you feel like you should really be wearing a race suit and helmet but start gently, let it all warm up and things smooth out a bit. Ten minutes later, as you get to your favourite set of corners just as the sun is rising and nobody else is around you feel like you could drive forever! This is the kind of car where your input and skill are rewarded in direct proportion by the car. It does not baby you, make you look better than you are, or save you from a ditch. You get out what you put in, and that is rare these days.

Half an hour after that you have had a drive which is better than an intravenous drip of caffeine, what a drive. After an hour your back hurts, you are sweating like a marathon runner and it’s time to go home and join the real world. What a car! Manual, light weight and only good when you are at 8/10 or above. Very rare these days (the car and that kind of experience)

If you like what you have read, or even if you don’t, get in touch and we will publish your opinion, or even your top 5 list.

2 years ago News

Ravings of a Car Nut

Our latest columnist, founding member and certified car Nut gives us his thoughts on what we should be buying and how.

My 5 cars I think we should think about getting. Trying to stay below 25grand and have to be low mileage examples. The mileage thing goes for all our cars really, and we will have to be careful about how many miles we put on them. I’m sure this has already been thought of but I think it is super important especially with a car like the C4S’s re sale value.

Porsche 996 Carrera 4S.

We may already have this car, but it’s still worth its place here (plus I’d already written this before I knew). I think this car is such good value for money on the market at the moment considering what other 911’s are worth. With its wide body and turbo look and without the price. If you find one with under 30k miles and under 25 grand just get it. If there aren’t any under 30K miles, the interior is good place to check how the car has been treated. If the driver’s seat is flattened, blown out and creased, leave it the car has probably had a hard life. I rate this car so much I have one myself sitting in storage.

Porsche 944 S2

Preferably a turbo but a tidy low miler 3.0 will do.

Careful when buying this car. Do your homework, half of the cars out there have been driven into either a tree or a ditch at some point by a yuppie. Aim at under 100k miles with clear insurance check and as much history as you can get. Pay no more than 12k for a 3.0 S2 registered around the early 90’s. If you are lucky enough to find a turbo pay 18k. I see these cars being close to the 50k mark within the next 5 years, especially the turbo.

I had a white S2 3.0 when I was 19 and sold a year later for 4grand, I’m an idiot.

Ford Focus RS Mk1 (2003)

Just a year ago they were selling for 8-9k, now they are 12-15k even with 100k miles on the clock. The boy racers love em, so do their dads. It’s a fast ford totally standard out of the factory with great big wheels and a turbo, what’s not to like. I expect these to go the same way as the escort cossie if their miles are low and its been kept standard. Sadly the cossie is well out of our price range now. 4 years ago you could get one for 20k now more like 50. Those are the cars we are trying to pick now.

Maserati 3200 3.2 V8 GT Coupe (boomerang rear lights)

I know, I know, I know Mark said reliable cars. But it’s a V8 Maserati for under 15K. If none of you like it I’ll use my points on it. It’ll look good anywhere you park it (or breakdown). But look at this way at least you have something nice to look at while the AA are on their way.

Volkswagen Golf R32 Mk4

Insurance clear with under 50k miles for under 8 grand. Same as the Focus really, has be stock standard and well looked after. It will be a great little driver and we might make some money on it. The engine is bullet proof and it’s my favourite of the golf shapes. They got a bit funny looking after this one in my opinion.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll explain to you why I’m not. I have about another 20 cars I could name but no-one would have read something that long. Much much more to come!


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